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ICOM UK networking luncheon, Thurs 8 November, MA Conference, Belfast

ICOM UK will be hosting a networking luncheon on Thursday 8 November at the Museums Association Conference in Belfast.

The luncheon will take place 13:10 – 14:25 in Bar 2 on Thursday 8 November, which is straight after the ICOM UK-led conference session Winds of Change: The State of Museums in Southern Africa at 12:10 in Meeting Room 1.

The luncheon will be an opportunity for ICOM UK members and conference delegates interested in working internationally to network, hear about the 2019 ICOM Triennial in Kyoto, and network over lunch.

More details on the speakers and networking opportunities will be published shortly.

Space is limited so we recommend you book your free luncheon place as soon as possible via Eventbrite https://icomukluncheon.eventbrite.com

Please note you need to be a registered delegate for the MA Conference to attend the luncheon.  To book your place visit https://www.museumsassociation.org/conference/16012018-belfast-booking

You can now renew your ICOM UK membership online for 2019

The ICOM UK Membership Hub is now open for renewals and applications for 2019.  You can find all of the information about membership benefits, categories and the link to renew at http://uk.icom.museum/join-us/

In addition to regular, retired, student and institutional membership, ICOM UK is offering a new category of membership for individuals and organisations in 2019 – Supporting Membership (non-voting).  Supporting Membership is open to individuals and organisations providing substantial assistance to ICOM both financially and otherwise, due to an interest in museums and the international co-operation between museums.  Examples of supporting members include legal professionals representing museums, media (magazine publishers), architects and designers (and companies) providing direct services to museums but not as their main activity.

The 2019 ICOM sticker is valid from 1 January 2019.  If you apply in October or November, you should receive your 2019 sticker within 3 weeks, and in plenty of time before the start of the new membership year.  To take into account the December holidays, we kindly ask that members renew their membership in October or November to guarantee receipt of your 2019 sticker before January.  Applications received in December will be processed as quickly as possible but we cannot guarantee you will receive your sticker before 1 January 2019.

If you have any questions about renewing your membership for 2019, please contact the ICOM UK Membership Administrator at membership.icom@fastmail.fm

Thank you for your continued support of ICOM and ICOM UK.

UK-China Connection Through Culture Grants 2018-19

UK-China Connection through Culture Grants

Running for nearly a decade, Connections through Culture is a long-term programme to develop exciting cultural collaborations between artists and arts organisations, supporting long-lasting relationships between China and the UK.

The programme offers support, information, advice, networking opportunities and development grants to artists and arts organisations in China and the UK.

China and the UK both have a rich cultural heritage. Artists and arts organisations in both countries can benefit from the inspiration gained from exchanging ideas and sharing their cultural history.

Although the grants are available to all UK artists, Connections through Culture receives additional specific support from the Scottish government for projects with a Scottish connection.

What does Connection through Culture offer

Professional Development Grants (£2,500)

A limited number of small grants to enable artists or members of arts and cultural organisations to visit their counterparts in China or the UK for up to ten days, to develop projects, exchange skills or see others’ work. Grants are offered four times each year

Alumni Grants (£2,500)

A limited number of small grants for previous Connections Through Culture alumni to access follow-up funding to initial visits – starting in April 2016.  These grants are only available to alumni who received initial grants in the last 2 years, and are designed to be strategic grants to further facilitate collaboration and partnerships.  Grants are offered four times each year, in line with the Professional Development Grant rounds.


Details of the next rounds

Round 30 (Visits April – June 2019)

– Applications open: Monday 31 December 2018
– Application deadline: Friday 25 January 2019
– Results out: Monday 4 March 2019

Full details are available on the Connection Through Culture website: https://chinanow.britishcouncil.cn/opportunities/uk-china-connection-through-cultural-grants/

Launch of SARAT project website

The British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) is pleased to announce the launch of the website for the BIAA-led project, SARAT.

The SARAT team.
Photo: Caner Şenyuva

SARAT stands for “Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey”. The project’s goal is to increase knowledge, capacity, and awareness about protecting Turkey’s archaeological assets.

The project is managed by the BIAA in partnership with Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) and ICOM UK and is also supported by the Cultural Protection Fund of the British Council and UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

The project was conceived as a response to the idea that archaeological heritage is suffering; from natural disasters, from treasure-hunters and looters, from the spread of cities and farming, and sometimes just from lack of public interest.

Gre Amer Excavations, Batman, Southeastern Turkey.
Photo: Caner Şenyuva

Protecting this heritage against both natural and human threats requires more than the efforts of experts and institutions: it’s only possible through increasing public awareness of the problem and changing public attitudes across-the-board.

SARAT makes a comprehensive effort to connect with audiences ranging from academic professionals to local residents, and from media organisations to collectors, in order to both raise public awareness about archaeological assets in Turkey and to build capacity among archaeology-concerned professional groups.

SARAT’s initial three-year programme comprises a variety of interrelated and mutually-supporting projects in different areas. These are:

  • The development of a certified online educational resource on ‘Safeguarding and Rescue of Archaeological Assets’;
  • A nationwide survey examining the relationship between the public and archaeology in Turkey;
  • Improved resources for journalists reporting on archaeology in Turkey including the creation of an ‘Ask an Expert’ system;
  • Meetings with antiquities collectors;
  • Fieldwork activities.


For more information about the project, the team, activities and upcoming events, please visit to www.saratprojesi.com (Turkish) or www.saratproject.com (English). 


You can also connect with the SARAT project through social media:

Twitter https://twitter.com/saratprojesi

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/saratprojesi/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/saratprojesi/

ICOM Brasil – Thank you and news about the national museum

The Brazilian National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM Brasil) wishes to thank you for all your solidarity manifestations regarding the devastating fire that has destroyed the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. The various messages from the international ICOM community have been an invaluable support not only to the workers of the Museu Nacional, but also to the wider museum community in Brasil. It has been comforting to be part of such a strong group of professionals all around the world.

Many of you have mentioned different generous offers to share your knowledge in disaster management, and to deal with the process of rebuilding the museum and the recovery the museum’s invaluable collection. Because of the extent of damage, the first weeks were highly turbulent and we need to wait until the full extent of the situation has been assessed and the establishment of the local governance.

During this first month, the Brazilian Government requested UNESCO to send a mission to make an initial evaluation and the first draft of an emergency plan. In addition, the Ministry of Education proposed a Working Group with members of the National Museum, the Ministry of Culture, IBRAM (Brazilian Institute of Museums), IPHAN (National Heritage Institute), UNESCO and ICOM Brasil.

ICOM Brasil was also in close contact with the ICOM President, Ms. Suay Aksoy, and the General Director, Mr. Peter Keller, and we would like to thank their enormous support monitoring the situation, establishing contact with the Brazilian Government and articulating the National and International Committees. The Deputy Director of Museu Nacional, Ms. Cristiana Serejo, participated at the CIDOC 2018 Conference in Crete, when the ICOM-CIDOC response to the situation was discussed. Besides that, this week the Conference of Brazilian University Museums will take place with the participation of members of UMAC and ICTOP, debating the Museu Nacional’s challenges as a university museum and the urgent needs of increasing the security and safety measures in museums in Brasil and abroad. In addition, in November, Mr. Keller will come to the Conference organized by ICOM Paraguay, CECA, ICOFOM-LAM and UMAC in Hernandarias, Paraguay and then come to a working agenda in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Let us take the opportunity to thank again each one of you for your solidarity and support. As soon as we have an official statement and a precise schedule for the coming months, it will be possible to understand how to address the many invaluable contributions you have offered. Please be sure that every word received from the National and International Committees will be shared with the Working Group and the authorities.

We wish to reaffirm our avowed faith in the resilience, the courage and the creativity of the museum staff and museum community in Brasil, and we retain the undiminished hope that the Museu Nacional will recover from the sorrowful event and emerge even stronger. We do envision that once the planning stage is over, we will be able to discuss with the participation of the entire ICOM community the future of the Museu Nacional.

On behalf of the National Committee ICOM Brasil,

Renata Vieira da Motta

Chair, ICOM Brasil


Strengthening global university museum collaboration in China

China is well known for the current dynamism of its museums.

The nation’s higher education sector also grows in strength as leading Chinese universities climb the global rankings. There is strong investment in the cultural infrastructure of Chinese universities in many quarters.

UMAC, ICOM’s international committee for university museums and collections, has been working in partnership with the Qian Xuesen Library and Museum of Shanghai Jiao Tong University since 2016.
The development of University Museum Training Week (UMTWS), an annual program for university museum personnel is one outcome. But partnerships always generate other partnerships. Thanks to contacts established during previous UMTWS, UMAC’s relationship with China is about to take a quantum leap forward.

UMAC President, Marta Lourenco, signed two significant agreements in Shanghai. The first is for the development of a university museum app for iOS and Android. This is a partnership with The Electronic Science and Technology Museum (ESTM) of the University Electronic Science and Technology (UESTC) in Chengdu. This is a university museum, and the first comprehensive electronic science and technology museum in China.

UMAC President Marta Lourenco says “We are committed to increasing the visibility of university museums and collections worldwide. With the ubiquity of hand held devices these days, this development will make UMAC’s world-wide database* more accessible to a broader global audience.”

“We believe China’s Electronic Science and Technology Museum, as a university museum are excellent partners for this enterprise. We are delighted to be working with them. It will bring data about university museums to everyone’s phone.”

The second is the translation of Journal editions into Chinese. This is an agreement with Shanghai University Museum. UMAC has been publishing a journal since 2001**. This agreement will make the University Museums and Collections Journal (UMACJ) available to a new and large sector of museum practitioners and university administrators.

UMACJ Editor Andrew Simpson says “We are working towards making UMACJ the primary academic source for the emerging speciality of university museum work. This agreement will engage Chinese university museum curators and scholars in the work of UMAC”

Both of these new exciting projects have resulted from UMAC’s partnership with the Qian Xuesen Library and Museum. Representatives of the Electronic Science and Technology Museum and Shanghai University Museum have both participated in previous University Museum Training Weeks where expansive thinking about collaboration and the potential of university museums is fostered.

* An open source database of information about university museums and collections developed in 2001 http://university-museums-and-collections.net/

** An open source journal, see http://umac.icom.museum/umac-journal/


Marta C. Lourenço, University of Lisbon
UMAC-ICOM President
Shanghai, 25 September 2018


ICOM Europe / ICOM Germany Conference: Museums, Borders and European Responsibility – 100 years after WW1

Museums, Borders and European Responsibility – 100 years after WW1

23-25 November 2018, Koblenz, Germany


November marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. ICOM EUROPE, together with ICOM Germany, takes this important event as an opportunity to reflect anew on the extent to which this historical dimension had consequences for the museum landscape and to what extent the united Europe of today itself is in demand to actively position itself.

Social responsibility and awareness of democracy are essential factors that promote free sciences and art, but at the same time also allow scope for the establishment of museums and their contexts. The developments within the museum as an institution have undergone enormous processes of change, especially in the last decades, in which not least the questions about the contents, the history of the collection and the currently held debates have been and will be challenged. In the context of progressive digitization, once again huge transformations are coming to the institution. This is why during this conference we want to reflect to what extent museums, borders (former as well as new) and European responsibility could be key concepts, questioning, exploring and transposing this historical dimension from the end of the First World War to current processes and issues.

The international line up of speakers from Europe, North America and Australia includes speakers from National Museum Wales, National Museums Liverpool and Coventry University.

View the conference programme at http://www.icom-germany-conference.org/conference/2018/program

Registration is only 50 euro and open until 16 November http://www.icom-germany-conference.org/conference/2018/registration

For more information visit http://www.icom-germany-conference.org/conference/2018/home

Blessing ‘Pacific Encounters’ at the National Maritime Museum

On 20 September 2018 the National Maritime Museum opened its ‘Pacific Encounters’ gallery. The gallery is a new permanent display dedicated to Pacific taonga (treasures) and histories.  Before the press view, the VIP evening opening, and the weekend of public events, there was a special moment for the communities of Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) to bless and celebrate their taonga and the gallery.

Tongan blessing of the Pacific Encounters gallery including the drinking of kava and traditional Tongan dancing. (c)National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Courtesy of the Tongan High Commission.

The blessings were an occasion for communities, their ancestors, and for staff. They were not public events.  The atmosphere of the morning was one of love, family and moving forward together.  The event began with a Māori Karakia, led by Ngati Rangiiwaho, a sub-tribe from Gisborne, Aotearoa (New Zealand) who were commissioned by the museum to produce an artwork for the new gallery space.

Following the Māori blessing, Robbie Atatoa from Mangaia in the Cook Islands, performed a Kave Eva (unveiling) of two toki, now displayed in the gallery. The ceremony required staff and family members involved in the story of the toki peeling away layers of cloth (traditionally tapa would be used, but in this instance pareu and tivaevae were more appropriate). The final layers were removed by members of Robbie’s family. The ceremony was important to celebrate the existence of the toki, and the mana (power) of the pia atua (sacred god).  Robbie first visited the museum in 2015 when he attended an early consultation session. At the session Robbie recognised one of the taonga as being from his island and carved by his ancestor Tangitorou. This meeting has enriched the museum’s understanding of the toki, and has since worked with Robbie on creating appropriate interpretation in the gallery.

Tongan blessing of the Pacific Encounters gallery including the drinking of kava and traditional Tongan dancing. (c)National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Courtesy of the Tongan High Commission.

The Fiji High Commission arranged for a kava ceremony and blessing of Adi Yeta, the Fijian drua now a star taonga in the gallery.  Dr Kevin Fewster AM, Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, was presented with a tabua (ceremonial whale’s tooth), cementing the ongoing relationship between the museum and the Fijian community.

Finally, following an exciting opening gala, the Tongan High Commission honoured staff with a kava ceremony and performances of traditional Tongan dance.

For three years the National Maritime Museum have been consulting and working with the communities of Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean), both in London and the Pacific.  This has been a journey for the museum and its staff.  It has required honest conversations, flexibility, and changes in practices both in content creation and object care. Far from being the culmination of the journey, the blessings are the beginning of relationships for a living gallery.

Tongan blessing of the Pacific Encounters gallery including the drinking of kava and traditional Tongan dancing. (c)National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Courtesy of the Tongan High Commission.

The Sackler Gallery: Pacific Encounters is now open at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.  Admission is free.

Interview with Andrea Terrón, Vice President AMG-ICOM Guatemala

Dana Andrew, Executive Director of ICOM UK, interview Andrea Terrón, an anthropologist and museum specialist from Guatemala, when she was in the UK early this year as a Senior Fellow of the British Museum’s International Training Programme (ITP).


Would you give ICOM UK members an overview of your work with museums as an anthropologist in Guatemala?

My name is Andrea Terrón, from Guatemala City and I am anthropologist and museum specialist. I studied my graduate studies in Japan, with a full scholarship from the Japanese Government, which was a fruitful experience; studying in two languages-English and Japanese- and living and learning in an international environment for 6 years.

I started working in a private museum as a curatorial assistant 16 years ago, and my experience there changed the way I feel for museums. I decided that my future career would be related to cultural institutions. I had to work while I studied and that helped me understand my career choice. I felt that I had a purpose; I found what I wanted to do.

I have worked in private and public museums in Guatemala City for 11 years. I directed and executed successful projects that include reorganisation of storage spaces, managed inventories and registries, created databases and cataloguing procedures, as well as writing and designing scripts for museum exhibitions. As a consultant, I issue reports over collections management conditions and make assessments of collections practices, preventive conservation, packing/moving and storage spaces. Also, I have worked since 2015 as a professor at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, teaching Mesoamerican Ethnology and Exhibition Design for the Undergraduate program in Anthropology and Sociology, and in the master’s program for Heritage and Management of Patrimony.

I have had the opportunity to go abroad and see the ‘innerworkings’ of a museum, and I felt more committed to specialise and pursue a career in the museum sector. I have a strong belief in museums as institutions of change, museums preserve collections and in doing so preserve past knowledge but also, generate new perspectives and dialogues with different communities. Museums have a difficult task in hand which is to find ways to connect with newer generations, creating links with more communities and trying to engage them on new ways of learning and understanding cultures around the world.

I participated in the Intensive course of Museology organised by the National Museum of Ethnology Museum in Osaka, Japan and the Japanese Cooperation Agency-JICA, this helped me get the knowledge on museum and collection management, among other subjects related to Museum work. Later on, I participated in the International Training Programme (ITP) 2017 organised by the British Museum, and just this year I was Senior Fellow of the same programme.

These kinds of opportunities facilitate networking, managing contacts and general knowledge in the museum sector. Rarely, museum professionals can connect and share
experiences that make us feel linked; but having these experiences, one feels that we are all together with the same problems and together we can come up with solutions. At a comparison level, one can comprehend which international practices can be adopted for small-scale museums and work towards a worldwide network, which will help preserve world patrimony and histories.
I think it is challenging, for all of us, to explain the experience one gets by meeting people with much more know-how and perspectives, and at the same time being able to say, “It happened to me too, I resolved it by doing… or thinking…” Everything that we learn participating in these courses and university programs, lectures and international conferences, comes part of one’s knowledge and will be put to work later on the job and other projects.

ICOM Guatemala and the Association of Museums of Guatemala are connected as organisations. Can you give us a short introduction to the organisations, your role on the executive committee, and the current priorities for the organisations?

In 2000, representatives of various museums in Guatemala worked together with the purpose of organising and creating the Association of Museums of Guatemala (AMG )that was recognised by the State as a Civil Association, and it was registered on November 8 of that same year. The Executive Committee of ICOM at its 103rd session held in Paris in June 2003, approved the formation of the National Committee ICOM Guatemala, agreeing that said committee be chaired by the Board of Directors of the AMG. In 2012, the Ministry of the Interior authorised the modification of the original statutes of the AMG, changing the name to Association of Museums of Guatemala and National Committee ICOM Guatemala, which may be abbreviated AMG-ICOM Guatemala.

AMG-ICOM Guatemala is a non-governmental organisation representing the ICOM in our country. It follows the ICOM mission by developing programs and activities aimed at increasing the training and professionalisation of museum staff, while establishing strategies to increase public attendance in museums and to achieve national and international representation, strengthening national museums as well as private.

The AMG-ICOM Guatemala will promote the conservation, promotion, diffusion and exhibition of the Cultural and Natural Patrimony of the Nation, as well as the development, specialisation and diversification of the existing staff and training museums. It will support the newer generations in the interest and learning of their culture and values, laying the foundations for the construction of an authentic identity.

The objectives of the AMG are:

  1. Promote, conserve and disseminate Cultural and Natural Heritage, tangible and intangible, nationally and internationally
  2. Design, carry out and supervise projects that contribute to the strengthening of the identity of Guatemala
  3. Strengthen the cultural, scientific and moral values of the country’s cultures
  4. To promote harmonious coexistence among the different peoples that live in Guatemala
  5. Promote the institutional improvement of the museums of Guatemala
  6. Contribute to the development of national, regional, site, community, university and private museums
  7. Promote and support training programs and technical, administrative, professional and operational level of museums. 8. Promote projects and activities of education, research, conservation, preservation, exhibition, training and dissemination for the benefit of the national culture.

The AGM board for 2016-2019 has had the priority of establishing clear procedures for the Association, organising priorities and responsibilities, auditing our accounts and to have a clear view on the active members. We have supported many colleagues with their training abroad, asking for courses for other members in Guatemala. We collaborated with the National Institute of Tourism, with a list of museums in Guatemalan territory, which included contacts, descriptions and other important information. We have organised conferences and workshops for the members and the interested public, trying to get more participation from a vast audience.


What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a project with the Regional Research Center of Mesoamerica (CIRMA) in Guatemala, designing an exhibition to promote the use of archives and to create awareness of their preservation. The plan is to create an exhibition that will open to the public in October 2018, based on a specific archive preserved at the Centre, from an important ethnographer that worked on archaeological research and preservation of archaeological sites located in the Highlands and Lowlands of Guatemala. The process began with digitising photographs, field notes, plans and sketches, overall 11,000 pieces, that enlightens a period of archaeological history that Guatemalans are not aware of.

This exhibition is planned with the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which holds the pieces that were excavated and that were documented and described in detail in this archive.  For the first time, the pieces and archive material will be accessible to the public, together. It will contextualise both collections and the level of interpretation will help divulge and preserve a small part of our history and patrimony. Another key element will be the creation of panels with the documents and archives, which will travel regionally across the country, a key element in countries that are not connected digitally.

On other matters on accessibility, we are working on translating all the texts in two or more Guatemalan languages, plus English and French, with the idea of connecting with more people from other communities. The other great challenge in this project is that we will try to use beacons (transmitters that can be used to deliver proximity-based, context-aware messages) or QR codes (machine-readable optical label that contains information about a specific item) to deliver these translations and other content that is relevant for the exhibition.


What are the main challenges facing museums in Guatemala?

There are many challenges museums are facing.  For example, access to museums regionally and in the city; representativity would be a topic that has a direct effect at a national level, including the voice of diverse people that could provide the possibility of multiple identities; paying more attention on content instead of the shell or look of cultural institutions; dealing with funds from private and public sources; managing corruption; and the creation of museum positions for students and museum professionals.

Also, museums should include more diverse and daily topics, to support the financing, and to try to accomplish sustainable museums and not be dependent on a single fund. Museums worry too much on the use of modern technologies and having interactive exhibitions, but I believe that the use and focus should be on enriching the contents and clarifying the interpretation related to Guatemalan realities and diverse identities. Museums should take experiences and methodologies from around the world, that can be adapted to Guatemala and encourage citizen participation through multisectoral alliances, including universities, schools and foundations.

Another challenge would be the preventive conservation procedures and collection management policies, which many institutions do not have. The situation of museums in Guatemala City and regional museums is different in terms of funds and concept or purpose. There are no clear policies on how to deal with patrimony and how to present it. There are good efforts but they are not sustainable.

There are fewer and fewer resources, museum managers complain more, and in a way, it is justified to do less and less. In this sense, it is important to redefine the function of museums, and not only trying to make fancy exhibitions, which are a presumed source of income. Each community should work for a space that represents their cultures, practices, relations and other matters that are important at a community level (community understood, in this context, as a university, a school, a neighbourhood, a town or a diverse ethnic community).

If museums respond to the needs of the population, we could work on good interpretation and include community members to establish what is important for each museum at a local-regional-national level.

Something that is affecting funds and visitors to the museum is security. Many schools are not taking the students to museums, but museums should not wait for this to change.
Museums should go to the schools and learn to adapt to this security situation. There are some museums that are working with ‘travelling’ programs, and they should extend these program to the varied communities.


What is your vision for the future of museums in Guatemala?

One must think about public-private partnerships to generate funds and manage cultural projects. The development of more inclusive projects, adaptation of museums to different audiences in Guatemala and not only foreigners.

The creation of an inventory system to register collections, create standards for policies for conservation and management, and open museums to more professionals and students to encourage research. The point would be to find a common ground among museums, creating partnerships and support. This would help with raising the standards for all museums and teaching more people to protect their museums and patrimony, creating awareness for the tough future we have ahead of us.

Increasing support for museum sites and community museums. Development of new learning strategies based on interpretation strategies and specific content for different audiences and different communities. Make an analysis of the objectives of the museums that already exist so as not to lose resources and focus on a more specific work to the vision of the museum, that is to be incorporated into the employees and visitors. Find a balance between audiences and collections, not just focus on the objects or the audiences, finding a synergy between the two.

Survey: ICOM’s Archives and Information Centre

As part of an initiative to redefine a policy for ICOM’s Archives and Information Centre, ICOM is keen to assess members’ interest in and expectations of ICOM’s archival and documentation resources.

They have therefore compiled the following questionnaire, which we ask you to fill in before 1 November, 2018:


The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete.